Antarctic exploration gets little attention in warmer climes, but it is the nearest human experience to deep space travel, isolated in a wondrous but hostile environment for a period of months. Commenter 'Thucydides' tipped me off to this coolific photo essay of Antarctic stations in Wired.
(When I was in high school there was a car in the neighborhood with an Antarctica license plate. I never learned the story, but it looked 'real,' with an expedition number, and was presumably handed out to those who took part.)
My prior mental image of Antarctic habitation, it turns out, was entirely wrong. I vaguely pictured semi-underground (or under-ice) facilities, an image I probably got from 50s or 60s vintage Arctic operations, or perhaps from The Thing. Instead they are on stilts, so snowdrifts won't pile up around them. Some can be jacked up to higher levels as needed.
Belgium's Princess Elizabeth station seems to have rocketed to Antarctica straight from the future of 1957. The Franco-Italian Concordia station, in contrast, looks the most like space hardware, landed and converted into a station. Appropriately, the European Space Agency designed much of the technology, and is studying the effects of living there.
Germany's Neumeyer III might be the stranded superstructure of a cruise ship, and South Africa's Sanae IV - first of the modern generation of Antarctic bases - looks like enormous picnic ice coolers, which seems sort of backwards. The US Amundsen-Scott station is architecturally bland, but that aurora is magnificent.
Then there's Britain's Halley VI:
An early generation design for an Imperial walker?